Leading the Fight to End Systemic Racism in Texas

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May 11, 2023

African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis County. 

Leading the Fight to End Systemic Racism in Texas

May 10, 2023 Podcast:

Audio file

Moderators Shannon Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Joyce James, a Licensed Master Social Worker Advanced Practitioner and CEO of Joyce James Consulting. For over four decades, Ms. James has been and continues to be a fierce champion of racial equity and justice within Austin/Travis County and nationwide. Ms. James also graces the cover of the February 2023 issue of Austin Woman magazine where she is bestowed the honorary title: Godmother of Equity in Austin.

Ms. Joyce James
Photograph By: Austin Woman Magazine

Institutional and structural racism is embedded within the policies and practices of many systems. Understanding the deeper roots of racism helps us to move away from focusing on individual factors towards looking at institutional barriers and challenges that live within organizations. Ms. James has been a pioneer in addressing institutional and structural racism in Austin/Travis County by working with Austin Police Department, Austin Transportation Department, Austin Water, Integral Care, and other organizations to raise awareness about the ways that racism influences many aspects of our daily lives.

Major issues that are currently impacting Black and Brown communities include lack of job skills, lack of advanced education, unemployment, shorter life expectancies, and poor birth outcomes. Systems and institutions need to share accountability and work together to redress inequities and discrimination to have a meaningful impact for communities of color. Ms. James posits that racism needs to be undone at the cultural level of institutions in order to move towards a more just, equitable future. Communities can play a role in calling attention to these issues by speaking out and expressing concerns when they arise, engaging in dialogue about more productive next steps, and modeling constructive responses to these acts of racism.


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